You already know this -- stress takes a real toll on your skin. How many times have you cracked a joke about stress-aging, complained about stress break-outs, or cursed stress-induced flare ups of eczema, psoriasis or rosacea?
Here's what's happening inside your body during those tense moments. and the skincare ingredients and zen tactics you can use to help counter the fall-out.
Hormonal Surges: Your body's stress response triggers a surge in cortisol and adrenaline, hormones that tell your skin to produce more oil. If you're acne prone, this added oil production can trigger break outs. A hormonal surge can also dry your skin out by diverting fluids to sweat glands.
Tip: When oil production ramps up, dead skin cells become trapped in pores and produce break outs. Use gentle exfoliants like gylcolic and salicylic acid to keep pores clear of build-up. At the same time, using a lightweight non-comedogenic oil can help slow oil production. Our product picks: Indie Lee Gentle Daily Peel Pads Joanna Vargas Exfoliating Mask, Odacite Gr+G Oily/Acne Prone Skin Serum , Indie Lee Banish Stick.
During an adrenaline rush, you might feel fluttery, heart-palpitations, or stress sweat. If you can, take a few minutes to step back from what you're doing and practice deep breathing. Slow, deep breaths help trigger your body's relaxation response and can slow the hormonal surge.
Spiking Blood Sugar: Your liver releases extra glucose, which spikes your blood sugar. Higher levels of blood sugar are linked to an accelerated break-down of collagen and elastin, the fibers that keep your skin firm and tight.
Tip: Ingredients like peptides, salicylic acid, vitamin A (the base that retinol is formulated from) and vitamin C support collagen and elastin. We like Joanna Vargas Glow To Go Masks, Sansceuticals Activator 7 Oil, Joanna Vargas Vitamin Rescue C Serum, Grown Alchemist Detox Serum Antioxidant +3 Complex.
Making time for physical activity, whether it's a walk or an intense workout, helps balance this and get your optimal body functions back on track.
Inflammation: Stress slows your digestion, which impacts your gut bacteria, and in turn produces inflammation in the body. This contributes to puffiness, dark circles and dull skin (due to slowing of the lymphatic system that circulates fluid and transports essential antibodies beneath your skin). If you're prone to it, this can also trigger a flare-up of psoriasis, eczema or rosacea.
Tip: Give yourself a gentle facial massage to help soothe your mind, encourage lymphatic drainage, and tone skin. Start with clean skin, apply a generous amount of a facial oil (preferably one with a medium to thick consistency, you want it to stay on top of the surface of your skin throughout the massage). Our product picks: Saint Jane Luxury Facial Serum (bonus: the CBD in this rich serum is also super soothing for inflammation), Odacite Ac+R Youthful Glow Serum , Winged CBD Balance Oil Tincture , The Good Patch Dream or Weekender Vitamin Patches.
Inflammation also impacts your dopamine (feel-good) levels, so getting out in nature, spending time with friends, or cuddling with a pet or loved one may also help counter this.